Responses by Rikin Patel, chief technologist, DXC Technology Americas.
Q: What is the state of artificial intelligence (AI) within healthcare organizations and services now?
Patel: In a 2019 DXC survey of more than 600 global companies, we found nearly half (48%) of healthcare executives and board members expect artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to play a significant role in their digital strategies three years from now — the most of any technology or industry practice. Nearly one in three (32%) expect that assessing and adopting new digital tools, such as AI and blockchain, will be one of the three most critical aspects of digital decision-making in the coming year.
Of course, while discussion about AI has become ubiquitous, and while the promise has been great, adoption in healthcare has been slow. Yet AI has the potential to address multiple shortcomings in healthcare, such as misdiagnosis, treatment errors, wasted resources, process inefficiencies and physician burnout. As the need for high-quality, affordable healthcare mounts, using data to make better-informed healthcare decisions is essential. Healthcare organizations will accelerate the use of AI to better anticipate patient needs, improve treatment decisions and reduce health risks in select cohorts moving forward.
Q: What’s an example of a way in which AI is already changing healthcare?
Patel: Some healthcare organizations’ prioritization of AI is focused on facilitating the rise of precision medicine, which aims to tailor medical treatment to each individual’s specific profile by employing digital analytic tools.
The goal of precision medicine is to provide more accurate information about the patient’s condition, the population subset they belong to, and the treatments that are most effective for that group. This enables both doctors and patients to decide on a course of action that’s more precisely suited to the individual’s profile. AI, and in particular ML, takes precision medicine to the next level with the ability to read large datasets and improve accuracy and prediction of outcome for patients.
Q: How can AI and providers work together to improve health outcomes?
Patel: There is a concern among some providers that AI will replace the need for human workers; however, AI should be viewed as a tool to enhance and scale providers through the automation of simple tasks, freeing up time for providers to spend with their patients (“high tech, high touch”). AI empowers doctors and other healthcare professionals to take better care of patients by identifying and streamlining the who, what, how and where of healthcare, giving providers more time to connect with patients and deliver personalized, compassionate care.